In today’s poll, I’d like you, our readers, to help me make an important life decision. All right, maybe it’s not that important. Nonetheless, I’d like some input. As I mentioned last week, I will be moving to a new house next month. Of the many decisions that Mrs. Z and I are faced with, we have to choose whether to keep our landline phone service, or dump it and just rely on our cell phones. I’m leaning one way, but Mrs. Z the other. What do you do at your home?
While the home theater purists out there will balk at the notion of ever watching a movie on a phone or tablet, the fact of the matter is that portable viewing is a rapidly growing market. The home video studios have attempted to respond to this demand by bundling Digital Copies or UltraViolet codes with your DVD and Blu-ray purchases. But what’s really the best method to get a movie onto your portable device? Do you prefer to download or stream?
In an act of stunning contradiction and irrationality, the Library of Congress ruled last week that, while it’s acceptable for iPhone or smartphone owners to “jailbreak” (to crack hardware limitations in order to install software not authorized by the device manufacturer) their phones, it is illegal to do so to an iPad, tablet computer or gaming console. Why one and not the other? Well, because they said so. So there. Also, if you’ve ever ripped a DVD or Blu-ray you’ve purchased to store on a media server, you’re also breaking the law, even if you only intend to keep those files for personal use while you still own the hard copy. The last vestiges of “Fair Use” have been tossed to the wayside.
Regular readers of this blog know that I’m a proponent of Constant Image Height display in my home theater. Just last week, I posted about an interesting new technology that could improve the resolution of Blu-ray discs to benefit CIH projection. However, even I have to concede that the aesthetic advantages of a Cinemascope-shaped screen must sometimes give way to practicality. To that end, I don’t really understand the point of Toshiba’s new 21:9 aspect ratio Ultrabook computer.
The recent development of a new material called GraphExeter, described as “the most transparent, lightweight and flexible material ever for conducting electricity,” has been hailed a significant breakthrough for the field of wearable electronics. Several major companies, including Google’s “Project Glass,” have been working to create electronic devices (such as computers, smartphones, MP3 players or even video screens) that can be integrated into a person’s clothing or eyeglasses. My question to our readers is: Would you even want such a thing?
“Fifty-seven channels and nothin’ on.” Bruce Springsteen sang that lyric back in 1992. These days, the average cable or satellite subscriber has hundreds of channels to choose from, yet the TV landscape can sometimes seem just as bleak. Depending on your perspective, either there’s still nothing decent on the air to watch, or there are so many interesting programs that you find it impossible to keep up with them all. In either case, an iOS and Android app called Peel wants to help you out by suggesting TV shows that you might want to watch. It’s even free! But is it actually useful? To find out, I decided to give the app a try.